Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I Listened To Some Records Yesterday

Key Largo – Saner Days (Mercury – 1978) Not so powerful trio that nonetheless had some pretty nifty trad rock moves. Mostly breezy & easy. Cover shot: Old man and child searching for shells on the beach while another child peers at us with binoculars and a superimposed sunlit shot of palm trees behind them for no reason other than the band’s name is Key Largo.

Max Webster – Universal Juveniles (Mercury – 1980) Super hard-rocking Canuckrock fest with too many highlights to mention. “April in Toledo”, “Juveniles Don’t Stop”, “Battle Scar”. All wonderful. The Geddy Lee duet is just icing on the cake. Cover shot: Easily one of the most ludicrous album covers of all time. Kim Mitchell in unflattering yellow spandex unitard jumpsuit and flames coming from his guitar pick.

Allan Clarke – I've Got Time (Asylum – 1976) Workaday crooner takes on “Blinded By The Light”, and tunes by Janis Ian, Dan Fogelberg, Chinn & Chapman, and others. Nothing special happens. Bonus points for getting Jimmie Haskell out of bed to futz with the horns and strings. Cover shot: Photo collage of Allan smoking and smiling.

The Lydia Taylor Band – S/T (Passport – 1981) Not bad cutie pie whiskey-voiced singer and her nerdly band do hard rock a la Benatar. And they DO rock. Choice cuts: “Cut Throat” and a surprisingly strong cover of “Highway To Hell”. Cover shot: Colorful illustration of a shapely female robot shooting laser beams thru the heart of a male robot. But he’s loving it.

Robert Byrne – Blame It On The Night (Mercury -1979) SERIOUSLY smooth crooner makes a strong strong album that not even his mother would end up buying. This album is like butter on the other side of the pillow. It melts in your mouth AND your hand. Despite the tight fit of his white painter pants, Robert never sounds anything less than mellow. Use of the Aphex Aural Exciter at the Wishbone Recording Studio in Muscle Shoals may or may not have contributed to the overall warm vibe of this worthy addition to the 70's honky loverman canon of fame. Cover shot: Several polaroids. An ashtray, a glass of wine, the american flag on t.v., a foxy laydee, an owl, balloons tacked to the wall, a neon parking sign, red panties hanging on the wall, another shot of the stone fox, and a heart with an arrow thru it scrawled in magic marker on a hairy human chest.

Tantrum – S/T (Ovation – 1978) Tantrum were a groovy bunch of kids. Great smiles. Their formula was disco + rock, and you can’t beat that with a stick. Highlights: “Flash Commander”, “Kid Brother”, “Night On Main Street”. Tantrum would like to thank the Hilton Hotel staff at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Cover shot: A somewhat photorealistic illustration of a pink chair being thrown thru a window. There is a pair of pantyhose wrapped around the chair.

Mistress – S/T (RSO – 1979) Lite southern-style rock and pop. “High On The Ride” is some catchy stuff. One of these days I will listen to the second side to hear their version of “Cinnamon Girl”. Mistress would like to thank the Aphex Aural Exciter. Cover shot: Completely white cover with raised letters that spell Mistress. Wouldn’t you just know that the M in Mistress takes the form of long lovely legs in high heels.

Flower – Heat (MCA – 1979) Pure, unadultrated disco. Deep disco. If you cut this record it would bleed cocaine. Not for dilettantes. Cover shot: Foxy disco lady in fur and bathing suit.

Trefethen – Am I Stupid Or Am I Great? (Pacific Arts – 1980) Completely deranged piano wizard makes supreme weirdo move. What a record! Three cheers! This one ya gotta hear. Andre Crouch, Alan Parsons, Jim Keltner, kicking puppy guitars, plywood box & broken snare, bionic drumset, etc. Alternate title: It's All Mom's Fault. There were no synthesizers used to make this album. Cover shot: I don't know what's going on. Trefethen and some wet young woman riding a turbine? Some sort of giant instrument of mass destruction? I have no idea what it is. They are ready to go though.

Pauline Murray & The Invisible Girls – S/T (Illusive – 1980) I don’t have much to say about this. Pauline’s voice is nice. I like the song “Screaming In The Darkness”. But then I fell asleep on the couch. I woke up and it was still playing. It was pleasant. Vini Reilly was involved somewhere. I will try to spot him next time around. Cover shot: Peter Saville body geometry.

Arlyn Gale – Back To The Midwest Night (ABC – 1978) What the fuck? How come you major dudes never told me about this guy? Complete missing link between Phil Lynott and Craig Finn. Springsteen wannabe? Yeah, so what? I’ve already HEARD all HIS songs. I dig this mightily. Cool band. Long rambling rock and R&B excursions tied together by Arlyn’s slick yawp. Check it: "I crashed on that crowd like my soul had a debt to pay/So those Hollywood kids braced up for a one man invasion/I pleaded hard wired blues, turned it all into cannon-blasted energy/I strut a mad man's fandango, reeled 'round that axis and rode out the night". Or this: "Indiscreet, bittersweet/It's her deal, give her the wheel/She’s in the driver’s seat/Dutchess of Earl, Mother of Pearl/She’s leaning on the off beat/Nylon hose, crossed-leg pose/So inviting, delighting/Got me reciting prose/Hypnotic, narcotic/A shape so melodic/I wanna know how it goes”. I know what you’re thinking, he's no Tonio K, but still...Cover shot: Arlyn standing in front of his ride at sunset. The headlights are blazing. The bridge behind him stands mute.

Honorable mention to these other albums I listened to that I don’t feel like going on and on about:

Patrick Moraz –Um, the title is a symbol that looks like an upside down exclamation point. came out in 1976. deranged. schizo electro prog bombast fused with Brasilian percussion and carnival noises.

Gentle Persuasion –S/T (Warner – 1979) Sweet soul trio. Nice arrangements. Meco was involved. “Litterbug” is a highlight.

Glass Moon – Growing In The Dark (Radio – 1982) Nice power pop that actually rocks a little! Picks: “Simon”. “She’s On”, “Political Action”.

Alan Gordon – Alley & The Soul Sneekers (Capitol – 1978) Good soulful stuff. I dig it. Dude’s voice is unreal. You will swear he is a stone fox. But he’s a dude! Pretty epic in spots. Jack Nitzsche production.

Show Of Hands (Formerly Anthrax) (Elektra – 1970) Cool power trio. jazzy. Nice guitars. Hyperactive cover of “Moondance”.

Mike Corbett & Jay Hirsh with Hugh McCracken – S/T (Atco – 1970) Sweet folk rock. Some nice dreamy tunes. Sitar. Children singing. Great production. Awesome guitars.

Dudly records I played:

Sherbet – Howzat! (MCA – 1976) These fluffy Aussie dudes in the too small satin jackets riding in the dayglo hot air balloon are no Rollers. They should have paid for some chinnchapman and/or vandayoung action.

David James Holster – Chinese Honeymoon (Columbia – 1979) One kinda interesting song, “Teenage Tragedy Queen”, and some decent session work from the usual suspects can’t hide the fact that this dude wrote some songs for Three Dog Night and John Denver and thought he could make a go at the 70's cool guy raffish loverman who can rock and be sensitive with the best of them a la Jackson Browne routine only he’s kind of a drip and I just keep staring at the weird Chinese finger thingys that David and his girlfriend (presumably Chinese) are wearing and the empty cartons of Chinese food and thinking that the dude had a shot but he kinda blew it and now his album just seems sorta racist and dumb.

Rob Carlson & Jon Gailmor – Peaceable Kingdom (Polydor – 1974) Even hippies weren't dumb enough to buy this album. Nice harmonies though. A couple of cool dreamy moments, but mostly curdled drippiness that even I can’t justify.

David A.Winter – Falling In Love (Able – 1977) This album is a monstrosity. So over the top. So cringeworthy. Words fail me. A spoken word tear-jerker called "The Letter”. Bad high energy bloat called "Wham, Bam Thank You M'am". Just...weird...and bad...and...not good. I don't even have the heart to tell you about the song entitled "Old Black Man". It's so wrong.